Welcome to the world of Lonesomes, where the “collectible monsters” are aplenty and school is just a lame as ever! Hopefully you caught our recent interview with Lonesomes writer/creator Ryan Little earlier this week, but if you didn’t you can read it here. Now then, strap yourself in and prepare for our review of Lonesomes #1! This review will contain minor spoilers.
Meet Tom Auld, an elementary school student who walks along the fringe of society. The central theme of Lonesomes, as you may have surmised from its title, is loneliness. Tom may be the loner type, but it’s largely by choice as he views many of the behaviors of modern, hyper-active society to be shallow and uninspired (can’t say I disagree sometimes).
Take for example Tom’s little sister, who is completely overzealous in her need to constantly engage in activities. She constructs an “activity wheel,” not unlike the main attraction that is featured in the popular television show Wheel of Fortune, that when spun randomly selects an activity for its user. Many of the activities are pretty extreme; such as jousting and hot yoga, to name a few. When Tom begrudgingly spins the wheel at his sister’s behest, he lands on “ice sculpture,” which is actually an activity that interests me quite a bit (fun fact™).
Since Tom has no prior ice sculpting experience, he uses one of those newfangled “YouTube how to videos” that are all the rage right now, which I thought was a fun little jab at modern society. There are times when it seems that people are more interested in “keeping busy,” whether it be with their social media, television shows, or any other plethora of highly addicting weapons of mass distraction that keep real thought at bay, rather than sitting quietly from time to time and “disconnecting,” as it were.
This is just one of the ways in which Lonesomes engages loneliness, or “being alone.” There are times when it’s okay to sit in that big, cozy chair and cool one’s jets for a while. Tom’s situation may not be ideal considering he plays with sticks in the backyard to entertain himself, but at least he’s using his brain in creative ways and not vegetating in front of endless reruns of Bridezillas.
Of course Lonesomes isn’t all about Tom’s crazy little sister and her constant need for stimulation. Nope, we also have the matter of “collectible monsters,” as Little calls them, making appearances throughout the pages of the book. This first issue mostly deals with giving the reader some background on Tom and his life of isolation, and the challenges he faces as an off-beat kinda kid (the best kind, in my opinion). However, we do get to meet one creature towards the end of this premiere entry into the series that quickly takes a liking to Tom.
Lonesomes takes some notes from other franchises such as Pokemon with the idea of often cute little monsters working together with their human partners. I suppose since Tom is somehow drawn to nature (remember, he plays with sticks) it is fitting for a plant-based wolf pup to emerge and befriend him. This leads to a fairly humorous scene in which Tom attempts to bathe the creature, only to accidentally unleash its secret power.
Where all of this leads has yet to be seen, as this issue ends shortly after the creature is introduced. Little has kept details on the future of Lonesomes pretty darn secretive, but if I had to bet (and I do have to. No seriously, it’s a problem) I would say that eventually we will be seeing some monster vs. monster action in later installments. Bring it on, I say!
The artwork in Lonesomes is a collaborative effort between inker Eder Messiah and colorist Fahriza Kamaputra. Some of my favorite parts of this issue were at Tom’s house when we meet his sister. Tom’s somewhat dire nature is foiled perfectly by his sister’s wide, unrelenting and excitable grin. These scenes work especially well in illustrating Tom’s dilemma and the world in which he lives.
Of course our little wolf pup friend cannot be ignored. Everything from its little tree trunk legs to its magical, glowing coat are incredibly well drawn and detailed. Certain scenes at Tom’s school give off a manga-esque feel, specifically in the way in which his teacher towers over him like a well dressed behemoth of a man.
At the end of the day, Lonesomes has the potential to become a hit with the aging (but not old) Pokemon demographic, as well as a fun introduction into the “collectible monster” genre for those that may have been too young, or that otherwise missed out on the Pokemon rage. It’s not all fun and games though, as the book does deal with some pretty heavy issues which I think is actually one of its finer points. Just don’t let that be a deterrent if you were on the fence about this one; Lonesomes doesn’t hit you over the head with the statement it’s trying to make, but it’s there if you are keeping your eyes and your mind open.
As always, please take the time to visit the Lonesomes Kickstarter page and donate to the project. Remember, it’s up to us fans to keep books like this alive, and independent writers and artists are always in need of help to get their work out there for us to enjoy. Once you’ve done that, head on over to Ryan Little’s Twitter feed and give him some well deserved props!
Will you be checking out Lonesomes? Let us know what you think in the comments section and on our Twitter page!